A Good Week For Some

This time last week I was writing about my concerns over my brother. During the time I was home, those concerns widened to encompass not just that one brother, but the other brother as well, and my younger sister. They are all reaching that awkward stage of life where they still don’t know what it is they’d like to do with their lives, but worse still have absolutely no ideas at all.

Yet, I fully sympathise with them. When I was 22, my older-younger brother’s age, I had decided what I wanted to do with life. A year later, I had totally reversed my position. So I cannot say anything. And as far as my 17 year old brother and 16 year old sister go, I had no idea at their ages either. Who does?

But in those days it seemed less pressured. Back then, the economy was good, life was relatively stable and there was no reason to take an early decision. Why close doors when you’re so young? Why not just keep getting educated and give yourself room to breathe and think things through properly when you’re older and wiser?

That was always my plan. It didn’t really work, because it encouraged me to take a decision in panic. I am still glad I changed my mind about becoming a teacher. I don’t think I could have ever survived the pressure of the job, and children deserve better than that. But by not having any clue about what to do, I jumped at the first idea that came into my head. A wrong idea that could have led to me wasting two more years of my life – a life that is far too short already.

As such, I am not in any position to lecture my 22 year old brother. He too doesn’t have a clue, but has fewer options open to him due to a) lack of qualifications; b) lack of experience; c) lack of savings. Since returning from Australia in June, he has drifted aimlessly, with no job, no prospects, and an economy that has turned its back on people like him. But at the same time, he appeared unbothered by this, and happy to just let it all happen. The virtues of living off someone else’s back, perhaps. But that is a mean thing to say.

Fortunately, there has been some relief. Last week, on his birthday no less, there was a phone call from my uncle, telling us that his employer was recruiting staff on three-month contracts to work in a major bank. My brother, being the desperately unmotivated person he is, decided he was going to leave the phone call until the next day. My other brother, being somewhat different, decided to call right after he got home from college. 5 minutes later, he had an interview for the following day.

After much persuasion (and anger), Older Younger Brother took to the phone and secured an interview too.

To cut a tedious story short, they now both have jobs. They are short-term, but they could easily be renewed and there’s a very good chance that if they both show up on time, are diligent and hard-working, they will get permanent positions.

I am really pleased for them, but I remain concerned. Older Younger Brother has always been unwilling to engage with normality. He gets up when he pleases in the late afternoon. Fortunately for him, he has been landed with the afternoon shift, though he will still need to at least join the land of the living by midday. I really wanted him to get normal hours 9-5, so that he would finally join us in the Real World. But it is a very good start. I just hope he can find the motivation and self-discipline required, because if he doesn’t it will soon turn into yet another pressure on my parents.

As for Younger Younger Brother, my concerns are different. He is still in college. He is reaching a critical time when exams and the teaching are coming to a crescendo. I too had a job at his age, but only two shifts on Saturday and Sunday mornings. He, instead, will be working the evening shift every day. He is not an organised person, so I’m not sure how he will cope with having to spend Saturday and Sunday doing his college work – days (and nights…) when he normally does his own thing, off my parents’ expense, of course. I have a feeling he just won’t bother, and will end up with poor A-Levels, ruining any chance of going to university, and getting out of the trap that is home family life. I believe he’d be secretly happy with that, because I’m convinced he doesn’t want to go to university anyway.

No one should be forced into education, but I’m of the view that during these terrible economic times, the more you can do to not have to participate in this dreadful job market, the better. He is intelligent enough to go, but lacks the belief that it is “for him”. I understand as I felt the same way. But in the end, it really did do me the world of good as a person.

So it’s typical really. This has been a good week for them, and yet we (as in me and my parents) are still worried for them. The ball is in their court, and I’m glad they’ve had a bit of luck, but they need a lot more.

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